They dressed Him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and set it on His head.
I. WHAT IT WAS IN HIM THAT WAS MOCKED. The crown and the purple and the sham homage are interpreted by the cry, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
1. It was his kingly pretensions they ridiculed. So the Jews had laughed to scorn his prophetic office. To those Roman soldiers, impressed with the grandeur of the power they themselves represented, the claim to be king of a small and subject land like Palestine was very petty. They could afford, so they thought, to laugh at it; even as Pilate was not afraid to have released him who preferred it.
2. But even more did they despise his title as a theocratic King. How far these citizens of the empire of law were from realizing the true character of the kingdom of righteousness! Had he even been recognized by the Jews themselves as their ruler, the nation was too small, too insignificant in a political or military point of view, to be of any consequence. There was no suspicion in their minds of danger to the Roman empire, or of the influence which his moral and spiritual character was to wield in the new ages of the world. It is, although they knew it not then, by virtue of this same moral majesty and power that he, in turn, has become the Conqueror of mankind, and is maintaining and extending his sway in regions where mouldering ruins and obsolete statutes are all that remain to witness to Rome's vanished greatness. It is the mockers themselves that are now ridiculous.
II. HOW MEN MAY MOCK HIM STILL. There is a feeling of human tenderness that is outraged as we imagine the meek Sufferer amidst the brutal throng. But the true sentiment that ought to be awakened is that which concerns the principles of righteousness and truth, of which he was the embodiment and representative. It is for them he would have us solicitous even to jealousy. Men still wound and mock Christ:
1. When they reader to him a merely nominal homage. "When we pervert the truth of the Word for our own evil ends, we scourge the Son of man; when to justify our evils we fabricate a system of ingenious error, and thus exalt our own wisdom above the wisdom of Jesus, we plait a crown of thorns and put it on his head; when we substitute our own righteousness for the righteousness of Christ, we clothe him with a purple robe; when we are inwardly worshippers of self and outwardly worshippers of the Lord, our worship of him is a mocking salutation of 'Hail, King of the Jews!' while every presumptuous sin we commit is a stroke inflicted on the Son of man" (W. Bruce).
2. When they ignore the moral nature of his power, relying on material and external means instead of spiritual. When they use the methods of business in a business spirit, or even the arts of diplomacy, to advance his kingdom. So men clothe Christ in the insignia of Herod. "The kingliest King was crowned with thorns!
3. When they would accept the advantages of his kingdom without observing its conditions. As when persons profess to enjoy the preaching and ordinances of the gospel, but do not carry its doctrines into practice; or when they are "straightway offended" at the tribulations and privations which true discipleship involves. - M.
And they clothed Him with purple and platted a crown of thorns.
(S. Baring Gould, M. A.)
(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)Genesis 3:18), it ended in thorns.
(Hiller.)Ezekiel 2:3, 6)...A thorn is symbolical, not of sin only, but of mockery. As the thorn enters into the flesh and works itself deeper in, and rankles there, causing intolerable pain, and can only with the greatest difficulty be extracted, so is it with the stabbing word of sarcasm — it pierces deep into the heart, and festers there.
(S. Baring Gould, M. A.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. To fervent love. Can you see Christ crowned with thorns, and not be drawn to Him?
2. To repentance. Can you see your best-beloved put to such shame, and yet hold truce or parley with the sins which pierced Him. It cannot be.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Mother's Treasury.When John Huss, the Bohemian martyr, was brought out to be burnt, they put on his head a triple crown of paper, with painted devils on it. On seeing it he said, "The Lord Jesus Christ for my sake wore a crown of thorns. Why should not I then for His sake wear this light crown, be it ever so ignominious? Truly I will do it and that willingly." When it was set upon his head, the bishop said, "Now we commend thy soul to the devil." "But I," said Huss, lifting up his eyes to heaven, "do commit my spirit into Thy hands. O Lord Jesus Christ, to Thee I commend my spirit, which Thou hast redeemed!" When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the Duke of Bavaria was officious enough to desire him to abjure. "No," said Huss, "I never preached any doctrine of any evil tendency, and what I have taught with my lips I now seal with my blood."
I. I was led to the first statement from the circumstance of the rejoicings in the week that is past, on account of its being coronation week, or coronation day. "Well," I said in my own soul, as I turned over the leaves of my Bible," every day of my life, God helping me, shall be a coronation day. He must be crowned Lord of all. But mark, in His official character He must be crowned cruelly with thorns first. Thorns were the symbol of the curse. When God pronounced a curse upon creation, in consequence of man's fail, it was said, "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee." Not a few, yea, probably, all of God's saints have had to experience that there are thorns in their path, that there are thorns around them, that there are thorns in their choicest gardens, perhaps, in their families, in their children; that there are thorns in their most pleasant circumstances, that there are thorns in their most prosperous businesses, that there are thorns in their fondest hopes; but none among them, that I have ever heard of, have been crowned with thorns. I sometimes flinch if a thorn only touches my finger — I sometimes flinch if a thorn seems threatening the destruction of my fond expectation. What should I do if I were brought to be crowned with them? That was only the honour belonging to the King of kings, who, though King of kings, was the Prince of sufferers; and this Prince of sufferers was crowned with that curse which belonged to poor, fallen, ruined sinners, and which must have crushed you and me into eternal destruction, if He had not been crowned with it. Have we never read, that He was "made a curse for us," because "it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." When this crown of thorns was placed upon the head of our blessed Lord, it was that as a crowned head He should proclaim the liberation of His people from the curse. As though He had said, "Plat it closely, take them all in, do not leave a single thorn for My bride, do not leave a single point that shall be experienced, in a judicial sense, for any that the Father gave Me; plat it thicker, plat it higher, lay it heavier, that I may endure all." And why? Because He loved His Church, and would put away the curse, and secure the blessing of His Father upon them, and at least welcome them home with the very appellation of blessing, "Come, ye blessed of My Father."
II. LET US ADVANCE TO TAKE A VIEW OF THESE ABJECTS, THAT WERE EXULTING IN HIS SUFFERINGS. Are there not many such mockers now? But just look for a moment at the characters set forth here, as the abjects that mocked Him, "What!" say you, "are we to count chief priests and scribes among the abjects?" I do so always and among the very worst of abjects. What was Pilate? an abject. What were the priests, that prompted and goaded the people to cry, "Away with Him, away with Him." They were all abjects, decided mockers of Christ. And yet these abjects did not like to go forward in a party by themselves, but must summon the other abjects to do so for them. Now look for a moment how Christ is mocked, in the present day, with all the gaudy show, with all the mimicry of expressions in honour of Him, in which the heart does not go, with all the superstitious ceremonies and abominable idolatries that are palmed upon men under the name of Christianity! But you will observe, that amidst all this insult and mockery, which was heaped upon Jesus when He was upon earth, by these abjects, yet they were obliged to honour Him as King, and they cried out, though they only meant it in mockery, "Hail, King of the Jews." Now pause here for a moment, just to ask the question, "How do I honour Him?" Are we really honouring Him as our King? or are we fleeing from Him, as His disciples did amidst His sufferings.
III. THIS WILL LEAD ME TO SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT HIS PRESENT EXALTATION. Now this present exaltation, I am told, is "at the right hand of the Majesty on high," where He is enthroned in glory.
(J. Irons, M. A.)
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